Wednesday, May 15, 2013


It's late July, 1965 and the Brigham Young University team from Utah are touring Scotland playing matches.
Although he had still to win the US Open (1973 at Oakmont) and the Open (Royal Birkdale, 1976), Johnny Miller was the BYU star player - the American junior champion of the previous year - among a team of talented players.
They beat a reinforced Aberdeen University team 8-2 at Royal Aberdeen  after winning the foursomes 3-0 at Balgownie on July 26.
The Press and Journal report of the day says:
"The men who prevented a whitewash defeat for the home team were former rugby blue Francis Clark and Bobby Haldon.
Clark, three up at the turn against Kean Ridd, putted in great style and with an inward half which started 3 4 3 3 3, he polished off his opponent by 6 and 4.
"There were some powerful finishes by the Americans in the singles. Coach Karl Tucker, one down to Colin Webster with two to play, holed out from a bunker for a 2 at the short 17th and then sank a putt for a birdie 3 to win on the last green.
"Nicol Stephen, an old blue, was one up with three to play against John Miller, the US junior champion last year, but lost the last three holes.
"John Hamilton, two up with four to play against Craig Ridd, was shaken by his opponent's 3 3 3 4 finish, which turned the deficit into a one-hole US victory."
Results (Aberdeen players first)


R A N Stephen and J P Grant lost to J Miller and M Taylor 4 and 3.
F Clark and J Hamilton lost to B Allin and C Ridd  4 and 3.
R A Haldon and C J Webster lost to K Ridd and B Difioure 5 and 3.

Stephen lost to Miller 2 holes.
N B Manson lost to Taylor 3 and 2.
Grant lost to Allin 4 and 3.
Hamilton lost to C Ridd 1 hole.
Clark bt K Ridd  6 and 4.
Webster lost to K Tucker 1 hole.
Halton bt Difioure 4 and 3.    

+The Brigham Young University team, who were in the UK primarily to compete in the 1965 British youths championship - a tournament scrapped by the R and A  years later, went north from Aberdeen to play a North District team at Nairn and then at Dornoch where Brora's Jimmy Miller scored a famous victory over Johnny Miller.
Murcar Links GC member John Hamilton, who played in the Balgownie match, has fond memories.

"I recall playing in the match vividly as we drafted in some graduates like Dr Francis Clark, Nicol Stephen, J P Grant. Also memorable, of course, was the presence in the Brigham Young team of Johnny Miller.
"My own match, which ended on the last green, was also very memorably as I recall Craig saying: " Gee, John. I think maybe a half might have been a fairer result."
"His finish of 3 3 3 was truly awesome. He went on to acquit himself well in the British youths championship at Newcastle before going home to win the Utah State amateur championship, thus following in his father Jack's footseps.
"My other opponent, in the foursomes, Bud Allin, was even more successful in later years. He won five US PGA Tour events and one US PGA Senior tournament before succumbing to ill health. He died at the age of 62, having been a decorated Vietnam War veteran.

"The good old days! I sometimes wish I had had the opportunity of a golf scholarship at college in the United States. That sort of chance was in its infancy back then in the 1960s."
John Hamilton, pictured right as a young man, is a retired bank manager. He plays regularly on the North-east Alliance circuit. As a youngster, he won the North-east boys' championship and the top 
picture shows him with that trophy
after it was won by David Law a few years back. 



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